ACLU condemns decision for Milke retrial - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ACLU condemns decision for Milke retrial

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Prosecutors say they plan to retry Debra Milke, a death-row inmate whose murder conviction was overturned four months ago. (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections) Prosecutors say they plan to retry Debra Milke, a death-row inmate whose murder conviction was overturned four months ago. (Source: Arizona Department of Corrections)

The ACLU of Arizona is condemning a decision to retry an Arizona death row inmate whose conviction was overturned by a federal appeals court four months ago.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed the notice Monday, but didn't say whether they intend to seek the death penalty. [Read Intent to Retry document (PDF)]

Debra Milke was convicted in 1990 for sending her 4-year-old son off to visit a mall Santa Claus with two men who shot the boy execution-style in the desert. She was sentenced to death.

A panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Milke's conviction on March 14. The court concluded that prosecutors failed to provide key evidence to her defense that could have swayed the jury.

"The courts have been clear that Debra's constitutional rights were violated," said Dan Pachoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona.

"The decision by Bill Montgomery to retry her is an extreme example of misuse of prosecutorial power in a apparent attempt to cover for the illegal use of such power by the county attorney's office during the 1990 trial," Pachoda said. [Read the entire ACLU news release (PDF)] 

Milke, 49, has always maintained her innocence in the case.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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